The term nuptial agreement applies to separation, post and pre-nuptial agreements that are made between couples who are or who intend to be married or have a civil partnership.  The main difference between the three classes is simply one of timing; pre-nuptials are drawn up before the marriage or civil partnership is entered into, post-nuptials during, and separation agreement if the couple decides to separate.

A nuptial agreement is a contract just like any other.  The normal contractual rules apply to determine whether a binding agreement exists, that is, the court will look for offer and acceptance and for an intention to create legal relations.

Here are some advantages to having in place a nuptial agreement:

  • A party may want to protect assets such as inherited wealth, an interest in a family business, gifts from a third party, family heirlooms or property owned before marriage.
  • The parties can agree at the outset of their marriage how their finances will be divided if they later divorce to save uncertainty, time and stress of later contested proceedings.
  • A properly negotiated nuptial agreement must contain financial disclosure, so both parties know at the outset the value (or approximate value) of each other’s assets.
  • If one party has an interest in a family business or a private business, a nuptial agreement can protect that interest and prevent disruption to the business if there is a divorce.
  • It is often cheaper to negotiate and draft a nuptial agreement than the cost of solicitors contesting financial remedy proceedings at a later date in the event of a divorce.
  • Discussing financial issues can be one of the most difficult aspects of marriage. Dealing with this at the outset of a marriage can strengthen a relationship and help with communication.

At Ellisons, we remain committed to helping you and are able to offer initial appointments by telephone. If you would like to talk to one of our family lawyers please get in touch.

COVID-19: In these extraordinary times we recognise how difficult it is to find time to do everything, let alone seek legal advice. This is especially the case where you are living with your partner or spouse and are considering separating, or have your children with you during the day.

Therefore, we are now able to offer flexible telephone appointments to meet your personal needs, whether that is in the evenings, early mornings or weekends as well as our usual office hours. If making that initial call to book an appointment is difficult please email us at in the first instance and we can arrange a meeting by email.